Wealthy urbanites flocking to their summer homes on Nantucket to sit out the pandemic


Not necessarily Nantucket; but, you get the idea

Wealthy East Coast urbanites are flocking to their second homes in Nantucket, a tiny island 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, to wait out the coronavirus pandemic…Locals have noticed the influx in the form of a line of private jets at the airport, and BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes from New York and Connecticut…

Located off the coast of Cape Cod, Nantucket is a popular summer vacation spot known for its picturesque dune-swept beaches, high-end shopping, and seafood restaurants. It’s home to about 11,300 full-time residents…a number that swells to as many as 46,000 in the summer. The median home value on the island is more than $1.6 million.

But affluent city-dwellers fleeing to the summer destination may want to reconsider that decision.

Nantucket, which had two confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Tuesday, is a “medical desert,” with only 14 hospital beds, three ventilators, zero intensive care units, and a shortage of doctors, (says) Gary Shaw, the CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital…

The island typically brings in more doctors in the summertime to account for the vacation crowds, but that likely won’t happen now because hospitals across the country are in need of doctors, Shaw said.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Might not be allowed to leave once you get there, either.

COVID-19 is pushing the growth of online grocery shopping

In the wake of COVID-19, consumers around the globe have been forced to change their buying habits…For many, ecommerce has become the preferred—or only—way to buy goods, a change that will likely accelerate the adoption of ecommerce by 2-3 years…

Based on our survey and a category-by-category analysis of US retail sales, we expect ecommerce to represent as much as 32% of retail sales in Q2 2020.

People are using ecommerce in new ways during this shutdown, which will create new habits and accelerate the trend toward buying goods online. Online delivery of groceries and household goods under index overall ecommerce, leaving even more room for growth. We expect Amazon, Walmart, Target, Uber Eats, Doordash, Instacart, and others to see new and long-lasting demand for their ecommerce services…

So, when stores re-open, will shoppers that were forced online flood back to the stores, or will some of their new habits stick? Our survey indicates that a majority of people will increase their online shopping going forward. 47% of respondents said they will return to buying most things in stores but plan on buying more online; an additional 13% said they plan on continuing to buy most things online.

If the cost remains the same [or close enough], convenience rules. Delivery charges are comparatively small or non-existent. Pickup is easy as pie in my recent experience. We usually combine an errand or two with our Sunday morning grocery shopping. Now, we just pick out what we need a day or so in advance. Schedule the pickup. Roll into a parking spot at the scheduled time – after checking in online or by phone to make certain [1] nothing screwed up, [2] let them track our drive to town so the order is ready to load into the car when we roll in. Catch our other stops, afterwards [or before]. Easy-peasy.

And guess what? No impulse buying.

Our nation is neither quick nor bold

The novel coronavirus is forcing Americans to go it alone. This is happening in a shockingly literal way, as families scatter and freeze and shelter in place. And it is happening in a structural way too: When calamity hits, Americans tend to face the shock by themselves.

Americans are no less susceptible to disease, joblessness, and family changes than their peers in rich nations, but they are made more fragile by these crises. The country has a thinner safety net, fewer public goods, and less social insurance than other countries. The United States spends roughly what other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations do on pensions, or Social Security, and more on health care, for less coverage and worse outcomes. It spends less than a third of what the average OECD country does on helping the jobless, about a third supporting families with kids, and 50 percent less on incapacity, meaning disability, sickness, or injury that might keep a person from accessing the labor market.

Perhaps the country’s most pressing problem is its high uninsured rate. Every other country as wealthy as the United States has figured out how to cover its entire population, generally at a much lower cost, too…

Yes, we all should know this already. Seeing it in print might help you focus on who you vote for…or not.

Texas’ official says grandparents are ready to die for US economy — and they must!

The lieutenant governor of Texas argued in an interview on Fox News Monday night that the United States should go back to work, saying grandparents like him don’t want to sacrifice the country’s economy during the coronavirus crisis.

Patrick claimed after speaking to over a hundred people over the phone that there’s a consensus that they don’t want to “lose our whole country” over the current public health crisis and face an economic collapse

Health experts have made clear the coronavirus poses a particular danger for older patients – 60 years old and older – who face the highest risk of serious illness or death from the rapid spread of COVID-19.

This rightwing asshat calls 100 “experts” who agree that sending folks back to work rather than sheltering in place – halting quarantine from a highly-infectious disease – makes economic sense in his distorted understanding of what the result could be.

Aside from his obvious failing at essential humanity, Patrick’s ignorance of cause-and-effect in the firestorm of a plague is downright criminal. First, he thinks the death of thousands [or millions] is OK if it returns our economy to profitability. Second, the man is a fool if he thinks this coronavirus plague will not infect a critical mass of people of all ages if turning your back on public health standards of conduct and sanity is allowed to prevail. Crushing the US economy.

No doubt his “experts” qualify as such because they donate to political campaigns for cretins – candidate and voters alike.

Saudis ready to dump cheap oil by the boatload — and more!

Saudi Arabia’s state-run shipping company has hired multiple very large crude carriers to carry all the extra oil it plans on exporting next month—a rare move indeed for the shipping company that sports its own fleet of 41 tankers, according to Bloomberg sources.

Bahri, as the Saudi’s shipping company is known, has booked passage for its crude oil on three VLCCs, each with the capacity to haul 2 million barrels of crude. The preliminary bookings are heading to the US Gulf Coast, the sources say—but the bookings could still fail…

Next month, Saudi Arabia has plans to increase shipments of crude to its prized market, Asia, who will be more than happy to take on more oil at the substantial discount that the Saudis are selling their oil for as part of its oil war strategy. However, trips from to the US take 40 days, and Bahir’s own tankers would not return to Saudi Arabia in time to load these extra volumes.

But all that could change in the blink of an eye.

More tankers. More oil. Cheaper retail. What could possibly go wrong?

Stock Market’s level of (dis)trust in the Fake President

Trump gave us his little fireside chat, last night, on what he is doing to bring safety to the people of the United States of America, to our health infrastructure, to our economy. Here’s how the Stock Market responded, this morning…

The S&P index has a fail-safe mechanism that automagically kicks in when it looks like the bottom is falling out, a crash is imminent. This engages when the value expressed in this index falls 7%.

This took place, today, 7 minutes after the trading day began. Trading was halted…and resumed after the usual 15 minutes rule. Not exactly resounding support for the bullshitter-in-chief.

Feds recession-fighting toolbox nearly empty — and here comes Coronavirus

Investors, policymakers, businesses and the general public are increasingly concerned the coronavirus’ rapid spread will lead to a recession. While this outcome is hard for economists like me to predict, we do know one thing: The U.S. is not prepared to fight a deep recession.

Policymakers basically have two methods for reversing a downturn: monetary stimulus, primarily through reduced borrowing costs; and fiscal stimulus, when the government spends more or cuts taxes.

Unfortunately, the U.S. currently has dim prospects for success with either option.

Bill Ferguson’s article over at The Conversation is concise and precise. Two qualities our government has lost with the ignoranus-in-chief in charge. RTFA. He gets it right. The White House probably won’t even get round to admitting the question(s) need to be asked until the daily death toll gets up to 3-figures or more.

Will Any Crap We Put into Graphene Increase Its Electrocatalytic Effect?

Stop the Madness!

‘It seems that whatever “crap” we put into graphene, electrocatalysis increases.’ That’s according to Martin Pumera, University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, Czech Republic, and colleagues, whose experiments prove their point.

Pumera’s team has added bird droppings to graphene electrodes, and in doing so improved the efficiency of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen electrochemically…But the invention is not intended for serious use. Instead, it’s a final attempt to draw attention to how meaningless studies are that try to improve graphene’s electrocatalytic efficiency by adding other elements. They stress that there are up to two million combinations for any four of the 84 reasonably stable elements from the periodic table. They question the value of such studies. ‘Stop this never-ending doping madness,’ says Pumera…

Pumera now says that this is ‘the final point of my decade with graphene’…‘My goal was to inspire people to be more critical in general and I hope I at least in part succeeded.’

‘Nuff said! RTFA.

Palau National Marine Sanctuary became law New Year’s Day

A huge marine protected area surrounding much of the Pacific Island nation of Palau went into effect Jan. 1, 2020, after years of planning by local officials and advocates. Within the sanctuary, which covers 80 percent of Palau’s national waters, all extractive activities such as fishing and mining are now prohibited

Palau, an archipelago made up of more than 500 islands, became a global leader in efforts to establish fully protected marine areas when its Congress voted in October 2015 to establish the Palau National Marine Sanctuary…Only about 7 percent of the world’s ocean is protected today, according to the United Nations, although a global consensus is building that at least 30 percent must be safeguarded by 2030 to protect ecosystems, preserve the livelihoods of coastal communities that depend on fishing, and increase resilience to a changing climate.

At 475,077 square kilometers (183,000 square miles) the fully protected area is one of the biggest in the world. The area is larger than the U.S. state of California and home to thriving marine life. Palau’s waters host more than 1,300 species of fish and more than 400 species of hard coral…

Bravo! A nation with an understanding of thoughtful economics, modern ethics and the courage to implement both.